01/09/2023 SB Minutes
TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574
Bethlehem Board of Selectmen
January 9, 2023
In person –Chairman Caplain, Select person Hibberd, Select person Jensen, Select person Queiroga and Select person Morris
Chairman Caplain opened the NHHOP Public hearing at 6:00.
Select person Hibberd made a motion to accept $47,625 from NH Housing Opportunity Planning. Select Person Queiroga seconded, and all were in favor.
Chairman Caplain opened the public hearing to accept the NH DOT Bridge Unanticipated Funds at 6:05.
Select person Morris made a motion to accept $75,693.30 DOT Bridge one time payment. Select person Jensen seconded and all were in favor.
Chairman Caplain opened the Budget Hearing at 6:10. Chairman Caplain gave an overview of the 2023 budget stating the largest increase to the budget was insurance followed by the Highway Department. Chairman Caplain continued that every department head has worked diligently to maintain a reasonable budget and to reduce any unnecessary spending. Chairman Caplain sought input form the rest of the board. Select person Jensen suggested removing the patrol bike from the Police Department budget and instead seeking grants to fund the $1820 cost. Select person Hibberd agreed. Select person Queiroga disagreed with removing the patrol bike from the budget stating she would like to support the trails which brings tourism to the community. Mike Bruno agreed with Select person Jensen and Hibberd’s position on removing the bike from the budget. Chairman Caplain explained that the Police Chief asked for the bike to patrol the trails and he thought the PD would benefit from the bike.
Select person Jensen made a motion to remove the bike from the budget. Select person Hibberd seconded. Motion carried 3-2. Chairman Caplain and Select person Queiroga opposed.
Chairman Caplain introduced the warrant articles.
Select person Morris made a motion to recommend the Highway Equipment, Police Cruiser, Ambulance, Fire Truck, Fire Department Emergency Safety Equipment, Assessing, Technology Computer, Solid Waste Disposal, Town Building Maintenance, Gazebo Concerts, and Library Capital Reserve. Select person Hibberd seconded and all were in favor.
Fire Chief Anderson asked the board if it had been approved to purchase a fire truck. Select person Morris stated that it had already been approved and that Chief Anderson to move forward with purchase and he would be able to utilize the capital reserve for a down payment. Chief Anderson stated he had scheduled a time to speak to a sales representative so he should have an amount to put forth if an additional warrant is necessary.
Chairman Caplain introduced the Pool warrant and Abbie Sawyer, the Recreation Director. Ms. Sawyer explained it was going to cost $500,000 to complete the project, however the rec department would propose using $100,000 from the 10-fund to help offset the tax burden. The cost to replace the pool completely would cost 1.3 million dollars. Ms. Sawyer explained the pool is losing 6 inches of water a day and not only do the walls need to be completely rebuilt but the main drain needs to be replaced as well. Chairman Caplain asked how do we know we aren’t going to have the same issue in three years? Ms. Sawyer explained the pool company recommended that the pool be remained filled to add pressure to the wall and reduce cracking and if we chose to do that, we would need a higher fence. Ms. Sawyer stated if the warrant was denied she would like to revisit purchasing a van for the rec department because she will need to transport the kids swimming. Select person Queiroga asked if there was annual cost to maintain the pool. Ms. Sawyer responded that the cement would need to be resurfaced every ten years. Dick Robbie recommended finding a company that would be able to identify all the locations of the pipe leaks. It was agreed by the board to edit the article outlining the total cost of the project at $500,000, clarifying the purpose of the warrant, and removing the replacement cost.
Chairman Caplain introduced the Police Department Special Detail revolving fund warrant. Select person Queiroga questioned if the Chief would have authorization to spend from the account which is correct however funds would have to requested from the treasurer. Select person Hibberd clarified that they would need approval for large expenditures. Select person Queiroga requested the warrant be worded clearer to what costs can be applied to the revolving fund.
Chairman Caplain made a motion to continue the budget hearing until next week. Select person Jensen seconded all were in favor.
Chairman Caplain asked the public for input. Pam Sullivan requested Bethlehem businesses share their winter “things to do” in Bethlehem so Sullivan Creative can post to the town website. Ms. Sullivan explained businesses that don’t have social media are difficult to identify and ask for contributions for the website. Ms. Sullivan asked businesses send content to email@example.com including pictures so they can be utilized on the website.
Transfer Station Committee Proposals- Select person Jensen stated there is a USDA grant to help fund the new Transfer station and to apply the engineering work needs to be completed by April 1st. Chairman Caplain recommended postponing on deciding the proposals until January 16th to get the Transfer Station Committee’s recommendation and have time to thoroughly read the proposals. Chairman Caplin noted we received proposals from Sanborn Head and Aries Engineering. There was discussion on the proposals, and it was agreed to wait until January 16 to get advice from the Transfer Station.
Chairman Caplain introduced proposed Sansoucy Contract. Select person Hibberd asked if any properties had been added from the original contract and recommended adding Bethlehem Country Club and White Mountain School.
Chairman Caplain made a motion to approve the Sansoucy contract subject to the addition of the Bethlehem Country Club and white Mountain school at no additional cost. Select person Queiroga seconded and all were in favor.
PTO Select person Morris explained the updated paid time off policy explaining the changes. Mary Jackson asked for clarification regarding part-time employees. Select person Morris explained if you are a part time employee with consistent service for longer than a year would get the average number of hours they work a week for PTO.
Chairman Caplain started discussion on future meeting dates. The select board decided to meet 1/16, 1/24, 2/6 (Deliberative) 2/13.
Minutes –12/9/2022 Chairman Caplain made a motion to approve the minutes form 12/19/2022. Select person Queiroga seconded and all were in favor.
Select person Hibberd suggested taking some funds form the food pantry to build a new shed next to the free pantry. Select person Hibberd continued it would free up storage space in the town building, it would make stocking easier for staff and volunteers, and potentially free up parking. Select person Queiroga stated her concern for using donations for the food pantry for a storage facility. Chairman Caplain recommended making a food pantry shed an agenda item.
Non-public Session per RSA 91A-3 II (personnel, reputation, and legal) Chairman Caplain made a motion to go into non-public per RSA-91A-3 for reasons of personnel, reputation and legal. Select person Queiroga seconded and roll call followed.
Select person Hibberd made a motion to adjourn 8:30 pm Select person Queiroga seconded, and all were in favor.